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No Bark

I've been cooking on an XL egg for a couple of years now but never seem to get the results pictured here.
I cook mostly brisket or pork butts with a dry rub only, low and slow at about 230*, and rarely open the lid until the internal temp shows done. I prefer sliced so I usually take it off at about 185* or 190*. I use a DigiQ controller and the top vents are only about 1/8" open on the daisy wheel.
The finished meat tastes great and usually has a decent smoke ring but there is never any bark or what you would call "outside meat". I personally like the bark as a little chef's choice appetizer while I'm finishing the cooking and cleanup duties.
Any suggestions? Maybe bump the heat up for the last part of the cook??? If so, how hot and how long?

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Comments

  • Hey man, what kind of rub are you using?
    1 large BGE, Spartanburg SC
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  • badinfluencebadinfluence Posts: 1,132
    Has to be the rub as I cook mine at 230 and always have a good bark
    1 XXL BGE, 1 XL BGE, 3 LG BGE, 3 MED. BGE, 1 SM. BGE, 2 MINI BGE, 1 MINI MAX , 1 Peoria custom cooker Meat Monster.


    Clinton, Iowa
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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,392
    ive only cooked 1 butt that did not have bark, i lit the lump from the bottom and not the top for that cook and have no clue if that was why, i cook around 230 dome as well. i do add some sugar to most rubs
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  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,489
    Need more sugar in your rub.
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  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,358
    I'll suggest a higher dome temperature for the whole duration. Baste w. a bit of honey or molasses towards the end.
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  • The bark on my butts is from yellow mustard and a rub with a turbinado sugar.
    Billy
    Wilson, NC
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  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 660
    I've always started my rub with the yellow mustard base that everyone seems to use here.
    Is that a requirement for bark?

    I was just doing what I was told...  :\">
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  • I take Byron's butt rub or dizzy dust and cost it liberally. I don't use yellow mustard on mine. I cook it at 225-250 until it hits 200-203. I have a great bark.
    1 large BGE, Spartanburg SC
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  • fljoemonfljoemon Posts: 326
    Saw a post on another forum where they patted the brisket dry with paper towels, light sprinkle of baking soda (3 half pinches) on the top part of the brisket, applied light coat peanut oil and finally a light coating of molasses. Then apply your rub. The molasses helps caramelize the brisket and bark was fantastic.

    I am going to give this a shot on my labor day cook and see how it turns out.
    LBGE & Mini
    Orlando, FL
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  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,358
    KiterTodd said:
    I've always started my rub with the yellow mustard base that everyone seems to use here.
    Is that a requirement for bark?

    I was just doing what I was told...  :\">
    Not a requirement as far as  I know. The mustard sauce just helps make a slurry that sticks the rub to the meat.  I use a light coat of peanut oil instead. The oil seems to both hold moisture in early on, and crisp the surface later.
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  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 660
    Thanks, gdenby.  Next time I'll try skipping the 'tard.  It gets all over my hands anyway.  Oil seems easier and I've had no problem holding rubs on others things I grill.
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  • JohnH12JohnH12 Posts: 36
    Thanks for all the comments.
    I use a simple 50/50 (by weight) salt/pepper rub and everyone loves the taste. I haven't been using anything wet and don't care for the sugar in most commercial rubs.
    I think I'll try a light oil rub, then the s&p, and bump the temp to 300* the last hour.
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  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 3,546
    Getting your cook higher in the dome will help a little and don't use any liquid in your drip pan if that is what you are doing now.
    As many others have said, try another rub with a higher sugar content.
    Good luck.
    Thank you,
    Darian


    Galveston Texas
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  • When using the digiq are you using the ramp mode.  If so that is probably the problem.  I started off using ramp mode for the first several years never got a good bark.  Turned off the ramp mode and started getting bark. Maybe this helps maybe not.
    Camden, Tn
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  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 3,546
    When using the digiq are you using the ramp mode.  If so that is probably the problem.  I started off using ramp mode for the first several years never got a good bark.  Turned off the ramp mode and started getting bark. Maybe this helps maybe not.
    That's an excellent point. The drop in temp towards the end of the cook where the bark normally gets good would be set in place by "Ramp Mode".
    Thank you,
    Darian


    Galveston Texas
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  • ditto the sugar content
    Lovin' my Large Egg since May 2012 (Richmond, VA) ... and makin' cookbooks at http://familycookbookproject.com
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  • blind99blind99 Posts: 955

    Meathead has a good article over at amazingribs.  I don't think bark depends on the rub or surface treatment (but may be helped by it, if the higher sugar or salt content draws out moisture).  My guess is that the best bark forms after the evaporation has happened at the stall.  This would be when the Maillard reaction can occur.  Does the DigiQ speed up that last stage of cooking, after the stall?

    We need to run some experiments, varying the lengths of pre-stall, stall, and post-stall cooking.

    Or maybe one of the big guns here could just answer this riddle for kindergarten cooks like myself.

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  • JohnH12JohnH12 Posts: 36
    Thanks folks.
    Sugar is not an option. I don't like it and neither does the wife.
    I don't use the ramp function on the DigiQ.., Never have. Once the temp is stable the meat goes on. The egg never opens until the temp says it's done. That's why I got the egg.
    I hope adding a pre-rub wipedown with some olive or peanut oil, and bumping the last hour temp to 300* or even higher will help to get the bark I want.
    The flavor is great and the wife thinks I'm crazy. She doesn't want me to change anything. I simply want some bark for the chef!
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  • gamasongamason Posts: 109
    Sorry to disappoint but youll not get the bark your looking for without a little sugar to carmelize. At least thats been my experience.
    Snellville,Ga.
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  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 660
    edited August 2014
    I'd try a little sugar...it doesn't make the meat sweet.  At least I don't think so.  I have tasted some rubs that have definite sugar flavor, but once I'm done smoking a brisket or butt, the bark just tastes like smokey charcoal goodness...with a little pork thrown in.  ;)
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  • plumbfir01plumbfir01 Posts: 660
    are you foiling it at any point? that will compromise it as well.. bad byrons SALT rub (really salty but good on butts and mixes in really well) gives a good bark and i turbo my butts usually. Start at 280 and finish around 325 and it does them well with lots of bark and smoke flavor
    Beaufort, SC
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  • badinfluencebadinfluence Posts: 1,132
    Dang all this talk made me hungry guess I'll have some left over brisket from yesterday that had a good bark on it. :D
    20140826_100025.jpg
    3264 x 2448 - 2M
    1 XXL BGE, 1 XL BGE, 3 LG BGE, 3 MED. BGE, 1 SM. BGE, 2 MINI BGE, 1 MINI MAX , 1 Peoria custom cooker Meat Monster.


    Clinton, Iowa
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  • Bark every time, with temp steady, all over the place, turbo or low and slow. Rub typically dizzy dust (sugar) or a rub with turbinado sugar. As some said, no sweet taste really, just dark barky goodness!
    Lovin' my Large Egg since May 2012 (Richmond, VA) ... and makin' cookbooks at http://familycookbookproject.com
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  • You don't need sugar to get good bark.
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  • Oooooh! @bclarksicle‌ a challenge! I'll show you mine if you show me yours! Here's my pic of barky goodness... http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1147503/butt-all-rubbed-hitting-the-egg-early#latest
    Lovin' my Large Egg since May 2012 (Richmond, VA) ... and makin' cookbooks at http://familycookbookproject.com
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  • I get good bark now and have never used sugar. I just mentioned the ramp mode because it was my problem. I rarely cook above 225. I don't take off till 200-205 degrees.
    Camden, Tn
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  • Ha, not saying you can't get great bark with sugar, just that it's not required. Ever had a brisket from Franklins?
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  • I use nothing but bad Byron's butt rub. I typically take it out of the cryovac package and cover it in bad Byron's then straight on the egg. And no matter what temp I get great bark. I do cook very high in the dome though.
    Biloxi, MS
    XL / Small

    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
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  • henapplehenapple Posts: 12,848
    I quit using mustard. The rub seems to stick better, especially on brisket. I don't know about using oil. I've read where it can block the smoke but idk.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
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